Barriers In Communication In Health & Social Care

Authors Avatar by megan_r_smith (student)

Communication is getting a message across to someone, such as verbally, using hand gestures and other non-verbal methods. Barriers can affect effective communication. There is a range of barriers in communication and interpersonal interaction in health and social care environments. A communication barrier is something that disrupts or stops the message being understood. In this presentation I am going to explain barriers in communication and how to overcome them.

The environment in which communication takes place can impact or act as a barrier in effective communication. Setting, noise levels, seating arrangement, lighting, space and time available can all impact on communication.

Setting                                                                                                                                                                     People who use care services interact with care practitioners in their own home, community places, such as doctors, care homes for the elderly and hospitals. If the setting is very busy, there will be little privacy and communication may be affected. The person might not feel comfortable talking about personal situations in a public place like a restaurant or high street. But, if the person can talk in private without other people being able to listen in, interpersonal interaction and effective communication will be more effective.  Likewise, people may have few opportunities to communicate in domestic and residential places that don’t have comfortable spaces. So to overcome this it is important to make sure care environments have private spaces as well as shared public areas, so everyone can get the privacy they need. The strategies are being used in health and social care environments. There are private places as well as communal rooms depending on the type of environment. This is a good idea as people can get the privacy they need as in a doctors for example or can be sociable and communicate with others in communal rooms. Although, in some places, there might not be a private or quiet place to go to discuss things, like in a busy hospital with no free rooms, which would not help communicating effectively. I think having private and communal rooms is a good strategy as it helps people be more sociable and helps keep privacy in the private rooms.

Noise                                                                                                                                                                         A lot of noise, either within the area or background noise from outside, can be a barrier in effective communication. Background noise, from televisions or from traffic for example, can make communication difficult for someone with a hearing impairment. This can affect the use of hearing aids as they pick up the background noise and amplify it. This can make it the same level of volume as the person they are trying to communicate with. Background noise can also affect a person’s concentration. They could lose track of what they were talking about or the person receiving the message might not get every word and therefore not understand what the person is saying. To overcome this, the people speaking, for example a doctor and patient, should be in a quiet room with no background noise and should speak loudly to drown out the background noise if any. These strategies are being used in health and social care environments. GP practices have quiet rooms with no background noise so communication is received effectively. Although, in hospitals this is not always the case as the background noise can outweigh the foreground. I think this is a good strategy, although needs to be taken into consideration more.

Space                                                                                                                                                                     Space in the room, physical space and personal space can have an impact on communication. The way in which space is used varies depending on the environment. For example, in a residential care home, there are usually communal rooms where people can meet to talk and watch T.V. Although, there will also be other rooms so people can have their own personal space when needed, or a private space when talking to someone about personal subjects. People can be restricted by poor use of space. Planning the use of a space can encourage communication along with other factors in the room, such as furniture and décor. To overcome this barrier, rooms should be carefully planned out to use the space as efficiently as possible. And ensuring the right amount of space is used in the right environment. This strategy is being put into place in health and social care environments. When in a doctors, the space is used wisely. The chairs are opposite each other, but there is a desk so the care user still has their personal space. And medical instruments are out of sight so they do not frighten the person. Although, in hospitals, the space is not always used as effectively. The waiting rooms can feel cramped and take away a person’s privacy, like when the reception is near the waiting room, others can hear what is wrong. I think this is a good strategy to go by as it has the right amount of personal space when needed.

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Seating                                                                                                                                                                  The seating arrangement in a room can impact interpersonal interaction and effective communication.  Seating organised in rows or around ...

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